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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on African countries to workout modalities for restructuring the current operational style of African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) in line with OPEC so as to encourage non member nations to invest in African oil and gas sector.
Speaking in Abuja while declaring open the Extraordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of APPO, Osinbajo argued that whereas oil and gas had continued to remain the mainstay of African economies, there is the need for the re-investment of oil revenues through diversification to prevent economic crises resulting from over-dependence on the product
Osinbajo observed that the oil and gas industry was a capital-intensive one, noting that as individual countries, there was lack of the resources required to make the necessary investments to grow the industry.
He said that by serving as a platform for increased collaboration and cooperation among member countries, the organisation would go a long way towards helping overcome such financial challenges.
Osinbajo stated that increased synergy would help mobilize the investments needed to deliver the major infrastructure required by the industry, such as trans-border gas and oil pipelines, joint refineries and gas plants.
“Nigeria, as most of you know, is already leading by example, with our work on the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project, and the Nigeria-Niger collaboration on refining.
“In the increasingly interdependent world in which we live, greater levels of regional economic integration are required, allowing the free flow of the dividends of research and technology,’’ he added.
The Vice President also said that APPO needed to seriously look beyond public sector ownership of its activities and tap into private sector competencies and models to a greater degree.
Osinbajo praised the organization for embracing reforms of the sector to confront the challenges facing the organization and the choice of Nigeria’s oil Minister (State), Dr Ibe Kachukwu, to drive the reforms.
He gave the assurance that Kachikwu would not let the organization down having carried out some far reaching reforms in Nigeria’s petroleum industry to the admiration of the administration.
The vice president also harped on the APPO Fund for Technical Cooperation which was undergoing recapitalization to enable it to better fulfill the role for which it was established.
He stated that the financial model of the Fund might need some fine-tuning, suggesting that the fund could be modelled after similar institutions that succeeded, such as the OPEC Fund to enable non-APPO member countries and private institutions to invest in it.
“The APPO Fund ought to operate as an autonomous entity, independent of the APPO Secretariat, in the same way that the OPEC Fund operates independently of OPEC.
“If institutions similar to APPO and APPO Fund have succeeded and are continuing to succeed in other parts of the world, then we have no reason, and no excuse, to fail as a continent”.
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